After months and months of taking the same lockdown walk – through Falkplatz, around Mauerpark (and the new Mauer Garten), and back past Jugendfarm Moritzhof (for my daily dose of cute rabbits and goats) – I’m feeling fed up. I need a change of scene, a change of routine, but the cold and grey have kept me from exploring quite as much as I should have.
But as the sun has started to appear, slowly recharging my batteries, I’m feeling a little more adventurous, and have begun to take longer walks further from home. The change of scenery and extra greenery I’m presenting my brain with are working wonders for my mood.
I know I’m not alone in needing some forest-bathing therapy, so here are my favourite woodland walks in and around Berlin to help liven up that weekly Spaziergang and allow your mind to unwind.
All of these walks are easily accessible with public transport, and visiting these areas is COVID regulation-compatible (accurate as of the 31 March 2021).
Walk along the Panke to Buch
When I’m craving greenery, like now now, I jump on my bike and pedal north along the Panke canal to Buch forest. I love that you’re away from the hustle and bustle of the city pretty quickly, and I always stop for a bonus stroll around the Karower Teiche nature reserve, which is en route, to watch birds and water buffalo. Buch forest itself is dense, and the acres of woodland are crisscrossed by trails, including a sculpture walk, meaning you can stroll for as long (or little) as you’d like, and are unlikely to see many people.
Stroll from Wannsee to Pfaueninsel
Many people jump on the bus from Wannsee S-Bahn to Pfaueninsel, but to do so would be a mistake! After a stroll along the banks of Wannsee, turn off the main road and continue through the rather impressive villa-lined streets. Before long, you find yourself in dense forest. Head in the direction of the Mauerweg, then follow this path through the woodland to the ferry that’ll transport you to car-free Pfaueninsel. It’s a really peaceful walk; the only thing that might disrupt the calm are the wild peacocks which roam free on the island – just don’t upset them…!
I love the expansive nature park (Freizeitpark Marienfelde), which is home to many endangered animals including the moor frog and sand lizard, as well as rare bird species such as the red-backed shrike and skylark (I had to Google them, too, but they’re pretty cool). Be sure to walk the 1.5km “nature experience path” to take in the park’s diversity.
The forest itself is a mix of ancient and young trees, and taking in the differences between the two is a good way to immerse yourself in ‘forest bathing’ (it’s a thing). I like to start walking on the northern side of the woods at Tegeler Fließ, a small but picturesque stream where you’ll find water buffalo grazing. There’s a circular loop from here, too, that takes you through the full Fließtal valley. Alternatively, head into the southern forest to completely surround yourself with trees. It’s always much quieter here than I think it will be.
Meander through Birkenwerder
Walk from S-Bahn Birkenwerder to Wensickendorf Bahnhof and you’ll encounter swampy lakes, green water lilies, sprawling meadows and centuries-old woodland. The ever-changing landscape feels almost primeval and it never feels like you’re taking the same walk. Take a picnic and get lost.
Veer away from Sacrower See into Königswald
The sprawling Königswald is a protected nature reserve (the oldest in Potsdam), and the dense forest is the perfect place to wander aimlessly. If you’re feeling brave, take a dip in the lake – the waters are crystal clear and oh-so inviting. If you can, find the Heilandskirche, an incredibly beautiful church that juts out into the water.
Need more nature in your life? Our travel expert picks her favourite short escapes from Berlin.